This article is not for the squeamish or inhibited, dealing as it does with the pragmatic use of what are often seen as *negative* states of being. However, the energies involved in serious illness and grief may be used productively. Several magicians have expressed distaste to me when I have spoken to them about this subject, whereupon I have expressed distaste at their lack of flexibility and unwillingness to transform events in their lives to more productive ends.

When ill with the flu or any other illness strong enough to knock you into bed, you are in an ideal position to take advantage of the fever dream. The astral realities you can explore through either projection (the phenomena of astral projection in relation to illness is well-documented, but see ‘Shamanism’ by Mircea Eliade for an excellent account of the uses of illness by shamans) or by skrying the fever dream. I have found sustained pranayama (if not prevented by a congested nose) a good aid to achieving the state of gnosis sometimes necessary to achieve these visions, skullcap tea also helps with the lucidity of the visions when in the twilight realms of half sleep/fever dream. If you do have a congested nose, try reciting a mantra inaudibly, or better still, set up several artificial personalities and spin a mantra between them, until the disorientation helps lift your vision. As the throat is often affected by bed-inspiring bugs, and the Vishuddha or throat cakra is the centre of dreaming, I usually focus a lot of my personal energy on my throat when I am ill. This has the double purpose of helping focus more lucidly on astral visions, and also means my throat is fit to be used for raising energies sooner.

The death of a loved one is never pleasant, but most of our grief comes from selfishness, therefore it seems logical to focus that selfish energy on transforming the self positively rather than disintegrate it. Five years ago a lady I love very much was killed in an accident. I was zombified for months until one day I was reading my bible, the Tao Teh King, and I realised my selfishness and then because aware of what time of year was approaching – Samhain. At Samhain, I went to a local power spot that it known traditionally as a gate to the underworld, and from there I embarked on an astral journey. On my return, I was transformed. My journey had been successful, and I had realized that transitory dance of Chaos we all spin. From this point my whole magickal directions changed in a very positive dynamic fashion, and I developed my own system or sorcery. Since that Samhain I have lost other friends, in accidents and to Artificially Induced Death Syndrome, but now my sadness is more transient and my steps unfaltering. Extreme emotional and physical states are extremely powerful energy sources to be tapped when available for self-evolution, so don’t let patterns imposed on you by others affect your thinking (if they’re self-imposed, so be it.)

(Written during a severe attack of the flu)